A short interview that gives us a small insight into the surprise that went through the camp when the police took our media cart early friday morning on the 18th of November:
Later this day we had another contact with the police, in which they showed themselves from their more favourable side: The cart will be returned after the weekend. No charges will apply for the storage, which would be normal procedure for towed-away vehicles. Whether it will be allowed to stay in the long run remains to be seen.
Early this morning the The Hague police took the liberty of towing away our mediacabin. In a meeting yesterday they stated the cabin had to leave, giving an unclear collection of arguments. While we have explicitly asked them, upon advice by our lawyer, to give us their demands and argumentation on paper, we have not received any document from them so far.
Instead they decided to just tow it away, in all legal unclarity.
Seems that due to some kind of error in communication with the local police of Den Haag (The Hague) the new mediacabin that was placed on Malieveld 2 days ago was not registered with the police for a proper clearance request. The police demanded yesterday that the mediacabin should leave within the hour because it was in violation of the protest agreement. Until now the mediacabin is still standing its grounds transmitting the livestream and ensuring true free independent press.
The mediacabin is needed to protect the donated media and press equipment used for livestreaming and interviews against subzero temperatures. Chances are that if no solution is found soon with the mayor of Den Haag and the Police OccupyDenHaag will no longer have daily news coverage and interviews from the OccupyDenHaag protestsite Malieveld.
Freedom of press on Malieveld will be terminated in a sense because it is really nearly impossible to operate digital equipment in the cold.
Main problem now is that the occupy police negotiators can only relay messages back and forth with the police and the policeforce is getting frustrated by the way Occupiers communicate and make democratic choices. They are requesting to speak with someone with the authority to make a descision if the mediacabin is going to be removed or has to be removed with a little help from the policeforce.
In a emergency General Assembly this afternoon taking more than 2 hours some kind of compromise was made, however the final verdict of the whole protestcamp is not in effect because of lacking the mayority in votes. The police negotiators are doing their outmost best to bring the whole camp together to get a compromise to ease communications with the police without risking to be left in total a mediablackout.
Mediateam and the protestcamp are divided some want to remove the mediacabin and cease all news coverage for now and do the proper requests with the local authorities to resume news coverage with the proper police permissions. And some occupiers consider this kind of police action a direct insult to their right to excercise freedom of expression and press and want to continue broadcasting until there are no more legal ways to be walked or a day in court is needed.
Occupy Protest camps are mostly consensus based democracy camp and that means that when a descision is to made a consensus must be reaced with everyone protesting on the camp. It is a painfully slow process but it ensures that everyones point of view is heard before making a choice that affects the whole group.
A slight drizzle characterized this warm November day. Atmosphere in the camp was very positive. We had a couple of new people who joined the group and placed their tents on the field. Some of the most remarkable being an old lady who came over from Occupy Amsterdam with her 2 dogs, attracted by Occupy The Hague’s peaceful atmosphere and Marianne, our great inspiration, who after nearly 2 months of daily protests decided to sleep ‘in the field as well’, in spite of her disability. Marianne was given our extra large tent, with sufficient sleeping comfort for someone with back and mobility problems. Within a few hours though, her camping experience paid of, as she started to advice others on how to keep their tents dry on the inside in cold autumn nights.
In the afternoon a protest march was held to ‘Plein’ the square next to the entrance to Dutch parliament. 3 of Occupy Den Haag’s speakers shared their insights here with the audience on the terraces, speaking about the march’s subject: banker’s bonuses.
The people who staid in the camp to guard our possessions and prepare facilities for our livestream and personal needs were treated to the ‘Time Bank’ workshop by Sarah. Time bank is a system to exchange services throughout a local, or thanks to the internet sometimes international, community, using time as a payment method. It has been around since the 19th century and is now gaining significance again in The Netherlands for small services needed and provided by artists. A main reason for this is of course the recent budget costs by the government on arts. You can find some additional information on this system at: http://e-flux.com/timebank/.
As the drizzle that started our day continued, we had an evaluation meeting in the evening, in which everyone shared his experiences of the past 24 hours and look ahead on things to come. Idea is to do this on a daily base now.
Wednesday started with some unrest. A drunk Polish man had hijacked one of our tents and refused to leave the camp. With some help of the police he was finally removed from Occupy The Hague.
There was a demonstration in the afternoon at ‘Plein’, the central square next to the Houses of Parliament. The demonstration went peacefully, we had a chance to spread flyers and talk to locals in a relaxed manner.
Once again it showed how much support there is for the goals of Occupy within Dutch society. Video materials of this demonstration, as uploaded to Youtube, can be seen below:
Meanwhile our tech guys are still working in the camp on the internet facilities. Problems that we previously experienced with our livestream have been solved. The directional antenna proved to be the issue. Bandwidth remains limited though, we are contacting our provider, Internet4All for additional facilities to enhance our ability to work and operate the livestream from Malieveld.
A beautiful day in The Hague, ideal for a demonstration. Especially since tuesday is the regular day when parliament in The Netherlands is flooded by press for the weekly questioning hour. Not today though: this afternoon there’ll be another demonstration in the city for the Angolan boy Mauro, who is threatened by eviction from The Netherlands. This is a main reason why Occupy The Hague did it’s own demonstration at ‘Plein’(The Square) yesterday.
The demonstration went quietly, with the usual polite police company. There was only one exception to this: a couple of people from Occupy The Hague wanted to bring some furniture, left as garbage at the roadside, to the camp. The police refused to give us permission for this. Apparently they are opposed to recycling?!
This quiet tuesday started with a bit of a panic: a pyromaniac homeless inhabitant of the demonstration camp had decided to set his own tent to fire. This was sufficient reason for the community that has formed the past few weeks to evict him from the camp.
The General Assembly this morning revealed that our action is having some financial difficulty. Since most of our donation money is financially labelled for multimedia purposes by the donors, leaving only a small portion of the budget for everyday necessities like toilets, water and food. The conclusion is simple: we need more funds…
At 3PM this afternoon Peter will hold his meditation workshop. Meanwhile the remainder of our gruop is planning new actions and organising the camp.
This evening at 8PM there’ll be a lecture titled “Captured in an Economic Web”. It promises to be equally interesting for people within the Occupy movement as well as those in the “outside world”.
Meanwhile the camp’s own library and our good internet connection pay off: Occupiers like Lorelei are now doing some extensive research on economical topics to strengthen the speeches we hold during marches and demonstrations. Others, like your present blogger, are using our present facilities to strengthen the ties with Occupy on a global scale.